A woman left for dead by teenage Law killer Robbie McIntosh has supported plans for life sentences to mean life.
The Scottish Conservatives have said they will bring forward a bill during the next parliament calling for those who have committed the most serious crimes to never be let out of prison.
It follows a consultation published on the Scottish Parliament website on the Whole Life Custody Bill, which would give judges the power to hand down whole life custody to those convicted of the most serious violent and sexual crimes, including murdering a police officer.
More than 78% of respondents said they supported proposals to give Scottish courts the power to sentence the worst criminals to custody for the rest of their lives.
Frenzied attack on brave Dundee woman
Mrs McDonald was walking her dog through Templeton Woods in August 2017 when she was attacked by McIntosh, who was on home leave from Castle Huntly open prison at the time, staying in his social worker mother’s home in Bridgefoot.
Cowardly McIntosh struck the Dundee grandmother on the head with a dumbbell in broad daylight after charging at her from behind.
He had murdered Anne Nicoll, 34, on Dundee Law in 2002 when he was only 15.
After pleading guilty to attempting to murder Mrs McDonald, McIntosh was subject to a lifelong restriction order at the High Court.
We need to have faith in our laws and a clear message to these dangerous criminals that they are held accountable and serve a whole life sentence.”
Despite being eligible for parole next year, he can only be freed when the parole board approves his release.
Law and order
Mrs McDonald responded to the consultation, stating that keeping the country’s most violent criminals behind bars would help to give those who have suffered at their hands the confidence to continue with their lives.
She said: “Whole life sentence gives justice for those who have
suffered at the hands of these violent, sick, dangerous criminals.
“It gives reassurance that the public are safe. (It) gives us confidence that life
means the whole of their life and there is the acceptance that these category dangerous criminals cannot be rehabilitated so stay behind bars.”
She added: “I think it is only fair that the voices of all those affected are listened to and safety will be the priority.
“This Bill is putting things in place for law and order and what the public want.
“We need to have faith in our laws and a clear message to these dangerous criminals that they are held accountable and serve a whole life sentence.”
Some respondents to the consultation, in opposition to the proposal, said whole life
custody sentences could increase the risk of danger to others in the prison system, including prison staff.
Fears were raised prisoners without prospect of liberation would be under no incentive to follow prison orders.
SNP ‘soft’ on justice
Scottish Conservative Shadow Justice Spokesman Liam Kerr said: “The Scottish Conservatives are fully committed to guaranteeing that Scotland’s worst criminals will be behind bars for the rest of their lives.
“The responses to my consultation from the families of victims, police officers and those working in the justice sector were hugely powerful. They show exactly why we need to give this power to judges.
“This law would leave the worst criminals in no doubt that they would feel the full force of the law for their actions.
“The SNP’s soft-touch justice agenda over their 14 years in charge has let down victims for too long. All too often they put the interests of dangerous criminals first rather than giving victims the justice they deserve.
“The Scottish Conservatives will always put victims and public safety first. That’s why I hope to bring this bill forward as soon as possible after May’s election.”